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The Gulf of Tonkin Events – Fifty Years Later: A Footnote to the History of the Vietnam War

Chat with John White about his new book, hosted by Pulitzer Prize winner Deborah J. Nelson.

The war in Vietnam essentially began in 1964 in response to what the American government claimed was an unprovoked attack upon two U.S. naval ships, the destroyers USS Maddox (DD-731) and USS Turner Joy (DD-951), while they were steaming peacefully on the high seas in the Gulf of Tonkin off Vietnam. Although there was a U.S. military presence in Vietnam before that, the Tonkin events led to congressional action which allowed President Lyndon Johnson (and, later, President Richard Nixon) to escalate our military presence enormously and to wage war not only in Vietnam but also covertly in Southeast Asia. Among the many books written on the Vietnamese war, half a dozen note a 1967 letter to the editor of a Connecticut newspaper which was instrumental in pressuring the Johnson administration to tell the truth about how the war was started. The letter was mine. It became, in the words of one author, “a national sensation.” Actually, that was an understatement. It became an international sensation. On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin events, this is an account of my role and its aftermath, both personal and political. – From the Foreword

JOHN WHITE is an internationally known author who writes about the human mind and spirituality and their relationship to social and political affairs. He has published 16 books, including The Meeting of Science and Spirit, What Is Enlightenment?, A Practical Guide to Death and Dying and (for children) The Christmas Mice. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest, Esquire, Woman’s Day and many other newspapers and magazines. His books have been translated into ten languages. Mr. White was born in 1939. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College (1961) and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Yale University (1969). He has taught English and journalism on the secondary and college levels. After college, Mr. White served four years in the U.S. military as a naval officer, primarily in antisubmarine warfare and nuclear weaponry. In 1972, Mr. White worked with Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell to begin The Institute of Noetic Sciences, a research organization founded by Dr. Mitchell to study the human potential for personal and planetary transformation. Now retired, Mr. White lives in Cheshire, Connecticut. (Amazon)